Crash of World War II-era plane kills 2 civilians at naval air station

Two people died Wednesday when a civilian-owned vintage aircraft crashed shortly after taking off from a South Texas naval air station.

The single engine T-6 Texan crashed just after noon at Naval Air Station (NAS) Kingsville, station spokesman Kevin Clarke told the Corpus Christi Caller Times.

The yellow and green plane was carrying a pilot and one passenger, who were visiting an employee at the airfield.

Their identities weren't released, pending family notification.

The vintage training aircraft had just taken off when it went down, Clarke said. Navy emergency personnel sprayed the burning wreckage with foam and put the fire out.

A witness told KIII-TV that it looked like the pilot had lost control and rolled backward toward the hangars. Officials were unsure whether the problem was a mechanical failure or the wind, which had been strong at the time. The witness reported hearing the sound of the pilot hitting the throttle right before an explosion.

Clarke confirmed that no Navy aviators were involved in the crash and that no damage to the airfield’s runway or equipment had been reported.

The National Transportation Safety Board was investigating.

The T-6 Texan was used as a training aircraft for most of the Allied pilots who flew in World War II, according to Boeing. In 25 years, it had trained hundreds of thousands of pilots in 34 different countries. A total of 15,495 aircrafts were made.

NAS Kingsville — about 30 miles southwest of Corpus Christi — holds nearly 1,700 people, including about 200 flight students and 150 flight instructors, according to the Caller Times.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.